Ange praises Celtic star for resilient performances that have primed him for breakout season
Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou believes Hoops midfielder Reo Hatate will have benefitted from his extended summer break.
The 23-year-old joined back in January, and his qualities were quickly on show for the Parkhead faithful, putting in impressive performances against the likes of Hibernian, Hearts and Rangers.
However, the Japanese internationalist went through a spell of struggling for consistency, with many putting his troubles down to so much game time across the last 18 months.
Off the back of joining Celtic, the midfielder had already played an entire campaign back home in Japan. So, Hatate had played a lot of football by the end of the 2021/22 season.
However, with the Hoops not having to face Champions League qualifiers this summer, it allowed the likes of Hatate to take an extended break over the summer to rest and recuperate.
Since returning to pre-season, the former Kawasaki Frontale man has looked on fine form, and the Celtic manager believes the break over the summer will have helped the midfielder feel ‘fresh’ again.
Postecoglou also revealed the reasoning behind Hatate’s absence in a recent friendly against Blackburn and stated his delight at his returning performance in Poland last week.
He said [Sun Sport]: “Reo needed a break, but at the same time, I think working through that difficult period last year was good for him.
“It built resilience into him, and he feels fresh now.
“He had a little bit of a setback before the Blackburn game and missed a few days of training.
“But he’s made up for that, and I thought he looked really bright in Poland.”
Hatate’s early pre-season performances have left Celtic fans excited for what is to come.
Of course, pre-season is all about the players building up their fitness once again after spending the summer off.
Usually, supporters don’t take too much away from friendly fixtures in terms of the results or going over the top when assessing a player’s performance.
However, Hatate’s pre-season displays have left many fans really excited for what is to come this season from the midfielder.
Some sections of the Parkhead faithful are already tipping Hatate as a potential contender for the player of the season, should he continue to put in performances that we have seen in pre-season.
As Ange Postecoglou states, the break will have done him the world of good, and we are about to see the very best of the talented midfielder.